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U.s. 39, Dempsey 34, Panetta 32, Us 23, United States 18, Libya 18, Afghanistan 16, Clinton 14, Tripoli 10, Yemen 9, Somalia 9, Africa 7, North Africa 7, Graham 6, America 6, Washington 6, Cairo 5, Pentagon 5, Hamm 5, Leon Panetta 4,
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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    February 7, 2013
    10:00 - 1:00pm EST  

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for mental health throughout the system. when mental health is underfunded, it does not save money. people and up incarcerated, which is more expensive than treatment. they end up on the street. about 12% of the homeless here are veterans. that is in washington, d.c. that is expensive. the more money put into mental health treatment, the more money it will save across time. host: we have been talking with colonel elspeth ritchie, m.d. retired. the chief medical officer for the washington, d.c. department of mental health. we appreciate your time. please, come back. guest: thank you. it was a pleasure.
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host: is 10:00 a.m. on the east coast. we booked a to a hearing and a second. this is on the benghazi attacks. it is the senate armed service committee that will be conducting this hearing. secretary panetta and joint chiefs chairman general dempsey will both be testifying at this hearing about the benghazi. last thursday, we went to the same committee room that we will take you to now. we went there to hear defense nominee chuck hagel's testimony. they will come in soon. a little bit later, at 2:30 p.m. in the senate intelligence
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committee, john brennan's confirmation will be life. you see senator mccain. you have the ranking for the senate armed service committee. this should begin in a second. let us watch.
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we will cavill and to hear from defense secretary leon panetta and general martin dempsey about the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that resulted in the death of four americans. one week ago today, this committee heard from senator chuck hegel -- hagel to be the
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next defense secretary. the center of south carolina said he would put a hold on former senator hagel's nomination unless leon panetta agreed to testify. this is the first of two harris we will show you today. this and later this afternoon, the confirmation hearing for cia director nominee, john brennan, currently the counter-terrorism chief.
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>> good morning, everybody. we welcome secretary of defense leon panetta and the chairman of
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the joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey to testify about the department of defense's response to the deadly terrorist attack on the u.s. temporary mission facility in benghazi, libya on september 11 and all of last year. the findings of its review following that attack, including lessons learned. i want to remind colleagues that we will receive testimony next tuesday morning
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the doved d.o.d. released a time -- the department of defense released a timeline of september 11 and 12 in ben ghazi including the deployment. a copy of this timeline is in front of us. i think we will each have it and it will be included in the record. according to the timeline, the temporary mission filt, the department of defense's first action was to re-- facility, the department of defense's first reaction was to react on a mission of libya to provide better awareness of the events of the events in benghazi.
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there were a series of meetings in the pentagon for expanding the department of defense's response as well as to prepare for the potential outbreak of further violence throughout the region. during these meetings, secretary panetta authorized a number of deployments. i hope that secretary panetta and the chairman will provide the committee with detail on the circumstances that led them to these decisions. since september, there's been a great deal of focus on the supporting role that the marine corps guards played -- play in many u.s. diplomatic missions abroad. the marine corps did not have an lament in again-- in benghazi. the committee will be closely monitoring the use of these marines. our fiscal year 2013 national defense authorization act that requires the secretary of
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defense to conduct an assessment of the mission of the marine security guard program, whether it should be expanded and to report to congress on the results of this review. more immediately, the provision requires the secretary to develop a plan to increase the number of marines in the marine security guard program by up to 1,000 marines to improve security at our embassies, consulates and other diplomatic facilities. based on secretary clinton's recent testimony before congress, it is clear that the state department and the department of defense are already consulting on this review, high-threat posts as
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well as posts where the host nation, despite having the will to protect diplomatic facilities does not have the capacity to protect them. in some cases, these posts are located in countries where the department of defense and the state department have assistance programs with similar objectives. these are perhaps areas where the two departments can explore whether additional collaboration is appropriate. during secretary clinton's testimony before congress, she talked about the importance of properly resourcing africa command. they reached full operational capability less than five years ago and has been an -- what's called an economy of force effort to date. the events of last september raised questions about the adequacy of the department of defense's resourcing with respect to africom in terms of funding, assigned personnel,
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intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support. as an example, until the beginning of the current fiscal year, africom did not have a dedicated commanders and extremist force which is an emergency stand-by force, but rather it shared its force with u.s.-european command. in recent years, the committee has sought to provide the department of defense with flexible africom-specific authorities to support the burgeoning requirements of the command. such as the african cooperation authority, targeted train and equip authorities to support deployments of the african mission in somalia and flexible military construction authorities. the committee looks forward to learning whether any additional actions might be taken to further support africom's programs and operations.
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unfortunately to date, much of the discourse about the events surrounding the deadly attack against our facilities and people in benghazi have focused on the preparation and dissemination of unclassified talking points that were prepared at the request of congress by our nation's intelligence professionals and approved by their most senior leadership. these talking points are relevant, but even more relevant and finding out, as secretary clinton said, why these militants decided why they did is to find those militants and to bring them to justice and to do everything wreck to prevent it from ever happening again. since the events in benghazi, individuals and groups with the same motivations as those that attacked the u.s. facility in benghazi have attempted to expand their territory in the nation of mali as well as take hostage dozens of innocent
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civilians and attempt to destroy a natural gas facility in algeria. today, the united states is provided its unique enabling capabilities to the french military operations and the deployment of african forces from nations around the region. as secretary panetta has stated repeatedly, it is critical that the united states continue to pursue those groups and individuals seeking to attack the united states and our interests. i expect the secretary and the chairman this morning will provide their assessment of the threat that's posed by these groups to regional and international security as well as our effort to counter their operations. the four americans that our nation lost last september were among the very best expression of what it means to be an american. hardworking, energetic,
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optimistic, dedicated, not just to furthering the interests of their own nation but to ensuring that others could enjoy the same freedom and opportunity that we hold so dear. we honor the sacrifice of those americans and in their name we will do everything that we can to prevent a repetition of benghazi. since thises is likely secretary panetta's last hearing before this committee, and a broad smile has now appeared upon his face, i want to take a moment to offer my personal thanks to secretary leon panetta for your service to our country, for your leadership at the defense department, secretary panetta, you have exhibited qualities of honesty, cannedor, humility,
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fair mindedness and a great sense of humor. all of those were essential during the tenure that you've had as secretary. so we thank you, leon, for your service to our nation and for your great cooperation as well as with this committee. [applause] senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i agree with the last part of your statement there. i hold both of our witnesses in highest regard. in the case of secretary panetta, i just whispered to my friend, senator mccain, that two of my favorite democrats in the house were ma neta and panetta. that's always been the case. i rejoiced at the time that you received the positions in the appointments that you have had. it's long overdue that this
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committee is holding a hearing to examine the facts surrounding the terrorist attacks in benghazi on slept 11, 2012. that left two americans dead. -- four americans dead, deaths that i believe could have been prevented. but it's become clear over the last five months that the united states is willfully unprepared for what occurred in benghazi. what's also been clear is following the attack, the administration provided the american people inaccurate information about the true nature of the catastrophe and those events in benghazi. in my discussions with the most senior administrative officials. i've been told on the night of the tragedy -- although there was confusion about the nature of the first attack on the compound where the ambassador was located -- the second wave of attacks, which was on the annex, were unequivocally a terrorist attack. i have no doubt about that that
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they were. this was apparent because an angry mob doesn't use coordinated mortars and r.p.g.'s, so i have no question about that in my mind. despite the clear evidence, it took this administration over a week to publicly admit, as many of us knew already, that the -- it was a terrorist attack, not simply a protest, that turned violent as ambassador susan rice adamantly and incorrectly insisted. while some may downplay the indifference, i can't. al qaeda, affiliated terrorists were involved in the murder of four americans, including our united states ambassador to libya. this fact should call into question the effectiveness of our counterterrorist -- counterterrorism strategy in north african and beyond. i hope our hearing today will provide the committee a thorough accounting of what's been done in months following to ensure that this tragedy
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doesn't happen again. in the months leading up to the september 11, there were no fewer than four significant attacks against the western interests in the city. i'd like to have you go ahead and put that chart up. and leave it up during the course of this hearing because each member up heres a a copy of this. there are certain things that happened we all know. we know on may 22 the red cross was hit with an r.p.g. they left town. we know on june 11, the british ambassador's motorcade was attacked by an r.p.g. they left town. we know on april 10 the united states convoy was hit by an i.e.d. and on june 6, the u.s. consulate was attacked with a bomb and many, many other things. but we stayed. we didn't leave. while i understand the state department has primary responsibility for the protection of american diplomats around the world, i also understand that the
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defense department plays an important role -- supporting role to this effect. i expect our witnesses to explain today why, given the clear indication -- indicators tanned warnings, threats to the united states interests in benghazi and throughout the north africa were growing was the -- was the defense department not placed on a heightened alert status or adequately postured to respond in a timely manner to a contingency of this nature, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. our witnesses have repeatedly stated that there were no military assets in the region available that could have acted in time, potentially to avert this disaster, and i have to ask why not. the january, 2012, defense strategic guidance directs that we will rebalance toward the asian pacific. it goes on to say in africa and latin america we will develop innovative, low cost and small
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footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives. i don't agree. that's no way to achieve our security objectives. benghazi highlights the strategic risks of this new strategies in places like africa, risks certain to be amplified by cuts. this committee must get a thorough accounting exactly what was known and when and what the defense department did to respond to the escalating situation in benghazi and why it was not better prepared. additionally, our witnesses should address whether or not the current relationship between the state and the defense department is sufficient to meet the security demands of our overseas presence. you know, i've made over 100 african country visits. i know africa, and what happened in benghazi vividly illustrates what i've been talking about for a long period of time. that is the growing threat to the united states' interest on the african continent from the terrorist groups such as al
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qaeda, islamic magrab and bogoharam. one said back in 2011 that terrorist organizations in east africa in the deserts of northern africa and nigeria, quote, have little explicitty and publicity voiced intent to target westerners and the u.s. specifically. secretary panetta, the same year you said, quote, the longer you delay the longer you avoid trying to assign some assistance there, the more dangerous these groups become and the greater the instability that develops there. there are elements there in central africa that either have ties to al qaeda or that present the forces of terrorism in their own. and that's what's dangerous. as bad as everything that i've stated is, what i think is worse is the cover-up.
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it was obvious from the information we had on september 11 that the second wave, not the first wave, the second wave -- we have two different waves there. we have the compound, which we'll talk about in more detail during the questions, and then we have the annex. that the second wave of attacks on the annex were unequivocally a terrorist attack and we knew it right at the time. despite this information, ambassador rice said something that was totally false to the american people on all five major sunday news shows implying that the attacks were response to an anti-islam video that spurred protests across the region. in this sense, you are probably wrong. the wrong witness to have here because you'd be unfamiliar actually who instructed her to say that and gave her that faultly information. that's something that we hope we'll be able to get and that's something we can't be ignored.
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we sit along all day long and talk about the resources we should have and don't have, not just here and this part of the world but all over the world and that's fine. i think we all understand that. but that's not the big problem here. the big problem here is the cover-up that nobody talks about and that's the tragedy. thank you, mr. chairman. >> secretary panetta. >> mr. chairman, senator inhofe, i appreciate being here to discuss the facility attacks in benghazi on september 11, threlf. before i go into -- 2012. before i go into my testimony, let me say my deepest thanks for all of you for your support and friendship that i've had with all of you on both sliles. i have -- both sides of the aisle. i have had in many ways to live
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the american dream as a son of italian immigrants in the various capacities that i've had to serve this country. the greatest privilege i think i've had is to serve as an elected member in the house and had the opportunity to work with many of you in that capacity, and then as member of the executive branch, had the opportunity to work with you as well. i thank you for your dedication to the country and i thank you for your willingness to serve the united states. on that tragic day, as always, the department of defense was prepared for a wide range of contingencies. just remind you that the nctc in the six months prior to that attack, identified some 281 threats to u.s. diplomats, diplomatic facilities, embassies, ambassadors and consulates worldwide, and
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obviously benghazi was one of those almost 300 areas of concern. but unfortunately there was no specific intelligence or indications of an imminent attack on that u.s. facility in benghazi. and frankly without an adequate warning, there was not enough time given the speed of the attack for armed military assets to respond. that's not just my view or general dempsey's view. it was the view of the accountability review board that studied what happened on that day. in the months since the tragedy at the temporary mission facility in the nearby annex in benghazi, we've learned that there were actually two short duration attacks that occurred some six hours apart.
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and again, there was no specific intelligence that indicated that a second attack would occur at the annex which was located some two miles away. the bottom line is this -- that we were not dealing with a prolonged or continuous assault, which could have been brought to an end by u.s. military response. very simply, although we had forces deployed to the region. time, distance, the lack of inadequate warning -- of an adequate warning prevented a more immediate response. despite the uncertainty at the time, the department of defense and the rest of the united states government spared no effort to do everything we could to try to save american lives. before, during and after the attack, every request the department of defense received we did, we accomplished.
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but, again, four americans' lives were lost, and we all have a responsibility to make sure that does not happen again. the four americans who perished in benghazi, ambassador stevens, information management officer shawn smith and the security personnel, all were heroes and all were patriots. i had the opportunity to join the president, secretary clinton and other officials at andrews air force base for the dignified transfer ceremony when those bodies of those heroes were returned home and i had the opportunity to meet with their families. i believe we all have a solemn responsibility for the families and to the personnel who put themselves at risk to find out exactly what happened, to bring those involved to justice and to make sure that we're doing
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everything possible to prevent it from happening again and to ensure the safety of our personnel and facilities worldwide. to that end, the department of defense has fully supported efforts by the congress and the state department to review the events and decisions surrounding the attacks in benghazi. we've made every effort to respond promptly for additional requests, to provide briefings, to provide testimony to committees and members in the congress. in fact, general dempsey and i were among the very first u.s. government senior officials to brief congress on this tragedy. we appeared before this committee on september 14, 2012, three days after the attack. and provided the best information we had at that point as to what had taken place. additionally, the defense department participated in classified briefings and
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answered questions from the intelligence, foreign affairs, homeland committee, oversight committees, even when we were not called to testify. we've also provided all requested support to the accountability review board that was co-chaired by ambassador pickering and by admiral mullen. based on the information we compiled and the reviews that we conducted, let me describe for you d.o.d.'s response to the events on september 11. some of the lessons that we've learned and the adjustments we are making to our global force posture given continuing unrest throughout north africa and the middle east. in fact, in many places, if we get the heads up that we need, the changes we made have already resulted in early decisions to deploy additional security or withdraw diplomatic staff in the advance of a
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crisis, from central america, from car whom, to tunisia, from egypt to mali and others. while d.o.d. does not have primary responsibility for the security of u.s. diplomatic facilities around the world, we do work closely with the state department and support them as requested. in the months prior to the benghazi attack, as i've said, we had received from the intelligence community almost 300 reports on possible threats to american facilities around the world. over the course of the day on september 11, general dempsey and i received a number of reports of possible threats to u.s. facilities, including those in cairo, egypt, but there were no reports of imminent threats to u.s. personnel or facilities in benghazi.
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my -- by our best estimate, the incident at the temporary mission facility in benghazi began at about 3:42 p.m. eastern daylight time on september 11. the embassy in tripoli was notified of the attacks almost immediately, and within 17 minutes of the initial reports, about 3:59 p.m., africom directed an unmanned, unmanned surveillance aircraft that was nearby to reposition overhead the benghazi facility. it was focused on the primary facility there to try to determine what was taking place. soon after the initial reports about the attack in benghazi, we received, general dempsey and i met with president obama and he ordered all available
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d.o.d. assets to respond to the attack in libya and to protect u.s. personnel and interests in the region. it's important to remember that in addition to responding to the situation in benghazi, we were also concerned about potential threats to u.s. personnel in tunis, tripoli, cairo, sanaa and elsewhere that could potentially require a military response. in consultation with general dempsey, and africom commander general hamm, i directed several specific actions. first, we ordered a marine fleet earnt terrorism secure team, a fast team, stationed in spain to prepare to deploy to benghazi. a second fast platoon was ordered to prepare to deploy to the embassy in tripoli.
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a special operations force, which was training in central europe, was ordered to prepare to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern europe, siginela, and a special operations force based in the united states was ordered to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern europe as well at s rimbings ginela. some ask why other types of armed aircraft were not dispatched to benghazi. the reason simply is because armed u.a.v.'s, ac-130 gun ships or fixed wing fighters with the associated tanking, you've got to provide air refueling abilities, armaments. you got to arm all the weapons before you put them on the planes. targeting and support facilities were not in the vicinity of libya.
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and because of the distance, it would have taken at least nine to 12 hours, if not more, to deploy these forces to benghazi. this was pure and simple. in the absence, as i said, of any kind of advance warning, a problem of distance and time. frankly, even if we were able to get the f-16's or the ac-130's over the target in time, the mission still depends on accurate information about what targets they're supposed to hit. and we had no forward air controllers there. we had no communications with u.s. personnel on the ground, and as a matter of fact, we had no idea where the ambassador was at that point to be able to kind of conduct any kind of attacks on the ground. the quickest response option available was a tripoli base security team that was located at the embassy in tripoli. and to their credit within
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hours, the six-man team, including two u.s. military personnel, chartered a private airplane deployed to benghazi. within 15 minutes of arriving at the annex facility, they came under attack by a mortar and rocket-propelled agree nads. members of this team, along with others at the annex facility, provided emergency medical assistance and supported the evacuation of all personnel. only 12 hours after the attacks had begun, all remaining u.s. government personnel had been safely evacuated from benghazi. looking back, our actions and the immediate -- in the immediate aftermath of these attacks have been subject, obviously, to intense scrutiny and review. but let me share with you the conclusion of the accountability review board, which i believe accurately assessed the situation, and i quote, the interagency response
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was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed u.s. military assets to have made a difference. senior level interagency discussions were under way soon after washington received initial word of the attacks and continued throughout the night. the board found no evidence of any undue delays in decisionmaking or denial of support from washington or from the military combatant commanders. quite the contrary. the safe evacuation of all u.s. government personnel from benghazi 12 hours after the initial attack and subsequently to rhyme stein air force base was the response of exceptional government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded americans. still, after all of that, it is clear that there are lessons to
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be learned here. and steps that must be taken to ensure that we're doing everything possible to protect our personnel and our facilities abroad. so in concert with the state department and the intelligence community, we are in the process of developing enhanced security for u.s. persons and facilities in the wake of benghazi. there will always be attention between the effectiveness for personnel, the ability to get out and do what they're supposed to do in these countries and their physical security. we're committed to steps to avoid a bunker mentality and yet we still must afford greater protection from armed attacks. we're taking steps along three tracks. first, host nation capacity. we have been able to better assess and build up the
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capabilities of host governments to provide security for u.s. personnel and facilities. the fact is, as you all know, that our embassies and consulates depends on host country personnel to provide the first line of security. and this episode raises concerns about the ability of some newly established or fragile governments to properly secure u.s. diplomatic facilities. to address these concerns, we are working with the state department and considering how d.o.d. can better help host nations enhance the security provided to a diplomatic facility. we're -- where permissible and appropriate in collaboration with the secretary of state and the u.s. chief admission in the u.s.-effected country, we believe the defense department can assist using a range of security assistance authorities to train and equip those forces
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in the host country, and we are doing exactly that. secondly, we have to enhance diplomatic security. we got to harden these facilities, and we again are working with the state department to try to reassess diplomatic security overall. to determine what changes may be required, we assisted the state department in a deployment of an interagency security assessment team to evaluate the security level at 19 vulnerable diplomatic facilities, including our embassy in libya. and we're in the process of developing recommendations on potential security increases as required. as part of this review, we have also considered how the role, mission and resourcing of the marine security guards could be adapted to respond to this new threat environment. in the near term, we've agreed with the department of state to add 35 new marine security
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guard detachments. that's almost 1,000 marines. over the next two or three years. in addition to the 152 detachments that are in place today. we're working with state to identify those specific locations for the new detachments, and we will identify any necessary resource adjustments in order to support this initiative. although there was not a marine security guard detachment posted through the benghazi temporary mission facility, based on our review of allem bassy security incidents that occurred in september of 2012 -- embassy security incidents that occurred in september of 2012 in tunis, in khartoum and sanaa, we've went beyond their primary mission of protecting classified information. as some of you know, their primary mission is not to
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providing outside security. their primary mission is to protect classified information. but we believe that we can try to augment their role in terms of providing greater security protection as well. this could include the expanded use of nonlethal weapons, additional training and equipment to support the embassy regional security officers response options when host nation security force capabilities are at risk of being overwhelmed. the third area is enhanced intelligence and military response capacity. we are focused on enhancing intelligence collection and ensuring that our forces throughout the region are prepared to respond to crisis if necessary. the united states military, as i've said, is not and frankly should not be a 911 service capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every
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possible contingency around the world. the u.s. military has neither the resources nor the responsibility to have a fire house next to every u.s. facility in the world. we have some key bases, particularly in this region. we have some key platforms from which we can deploy, and we have forces on alert and we're prepared to move, but our ability to identify threats, to adjust posture, to prevent plots and respond to attacks to our personnel at home and overseas depends on actionable intelligence, and it always will. therefore, we're working with the state department and the intelligence community to ensure that our collection and analysis is linked with military posture and planning. we're working to enhance our
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intelligence collection, to improve the responsiveness of contingency assets and to adjust the location of reaction forces. at the same time we are working closely to state to make sure they have our best estimate of response times for each at-risk diplomatic facility so they can make the best informed decisions about adjustments to their staff presence in areas of increased security threat. we've deployed key response forces abroad. we have reduced their response time, but let me again say to you that even those forces that are on a tight alert time of n plus two, notice plus two hours in order to get on a plane, once those forces are put on airlift, it still requires many hours in that part of the world to fly distances, long distances in order to be able
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to respond. i firmly believe that the department of defense and the u.s. armed forces did all we could do in the response to the attacks in benghazi. we employed every asset at our disposal that could have been used to help save lives of our american colleagues. we will support efforts to bring those responsible to justice, and we are working with the task force involved and headed up by the f.b.i. to do just that. as i said going forward, we intend to adapt to the security environment, to ensure we are better position and support the department of state in securing our facilities around the world. but in order to be able to effectively protect the american people and our interests abroad, at a time of instability we must have an agile and ready force able to quickly respond.
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and above all, and forgive me for being repetitious, we have got to end the cloud of budget uncertainty that hangs over the department of defense and the entire u.s. government. i've got to use this opportunity to express, again, my greatest concern as secretary. frankly, one of the most greatest security risks we are facing as a nation, that this budget uncertainty could prompt the most significant readiness -- military readiness crisis in more than a decade. the department of defense faces the prospect of sequestration on march 1. if congress fails to act, sequestration is triggered. and if we also must operate under a year-long continuing resolution, we will be faced with having to take about $46
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billion-plus out of the defense budget and we will face a budget shortfall. with only a few months remaining in the fiscal year. protecting the war fighters, protecting the critical deployments we have, we're going to have to turn to the one area that we have in order to gain the funds necessary and that's readiness. it's maintenance. this will badly damage our national defense and compromise our ability to respond to crises in a dangerous world. the responsibility of dealing with this crisis obviously rests with the leadership of the nation. i know the members of this committee share the deep concerns that i've raised about sequestration, and obviously i urge you to do whatever you can to try to avoid this threat to our national defense. the state department and the intelligence community obviously also must be provided the resources they need in order to execute the missions
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that we expect of them, including the enhancements that i described today. whatever steps are required to be taken to properlyly posture, u.s. forces for possible emergency response operations, those steps would be seriously impacted by the readiness crisis caused by uncertain resources. we have a responsibility, and i take that responsibility seriously, to do everything we can to protect our citizens. that responsibility, however, rests with both the executive branch and the congress. if we work together, we can keep our americans safe. >> thank you seven, secretary panetta. general dempsey. >> thank you. i'll press my opening remarks, if you'll allow me to endorse what the secretary just said.
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in particular, the part of the effect of sequestration. i would also say that this hearing continues our full support to every effort and every request to understand and learn from this tragic event. i want to also commend the men and women of our nation's diplomatic corps. they're selfless and courageous. they do hard things in hard places. i stood with them in iraq and in afghanistan where their words are america's reputations and where their outstretched hands are america's promise. and benghazi we lost four fellow servants, chris stevens, shawn smith, tyronne woods and daughertyy. we mourn their deaths even as we honor their service. we honor them most by taking what we learned from their loss to prepare for an uncertain future. thank you. >> thank you very much, general dempsey. let's have a seven-minute round
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for the first round to get everybody. if we need a second round we can do it. we've had a late start this morning. you ended with your plea on sequestration and your need to avoid it. i totally agree with you. there is near universal agreement, perhaps universal on this panel, about the devastating impacts that sequestration is likely to have on the department of defense and on other federal agencies as well. i believe, as you do, that it is incumbent on congress and the executive branch to work together to avoid sequestration . toward that end, i, as one member of the senate, have advocated for a balanced solution to sequestration that includes both revenues and spending cuts. i suggested a specific proposal that would raise revenues by closing loopholes that some corporations use to avoid taxes by shifting income outside of
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the united states. i've worked with colleagues in the senate on suggested solutions. i'll continue to do so and your clairian call here this morning, i hope it will encourage all of us to work in any way that we can to avoid sequestration. you've -- yesterday you spoke at georgetown and announced a series of steps that the department will have to take almost immediately with respect to deployments, maintenance, contracts, other obligations if the congress and the president don't act soon to address the issue. we received memoranda from other senior department of defense officials laying out steps that would have to be taken if sequestration is not avoided. can you give us a timetable? you've already announced some actions that you're taking, which you're putting in place now so even if we can avoid sequestration in the next few days or a week from now or two
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weeks from now some things are being taken even before the end of february and before we know whether we can avoid sequestration, can you tell us, first of all, whether or not these actions would be reversible if in fact we avoid sequestration in say a week from now or two weeks from now? and do you echo the president's call for a balanced approach to avoid sequestration to include both spending cuts and additional revenues? >> mr. chairman, first of all, let me -- let me indicate, and i think general dempsey can add to this, the reason we're having to do this and take
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actions now is because, you know, we're operating at a spend rate right now that envisions that we would have gotten an f.y. 2013 appropriations bill. unfortunately, we have no f.y. 2013 appropriations bill. we got a c.r., but we've been operating at least in these first months based on a spend rate that is in line with what we thought we were going to get for f.y. 2013. if sequester hits on march 1, and then if we get a c.r. as opposed to getting an appropriations bill, then we're going to be obligated, as you know, to take out almost $46 billion-plus out of our budget. and that would have to take place in the remaining months of this fiscal year. if we protect the war fighters, we protect those in afghanistan, if we protect some of our critical deployments,
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we're looking at having to take most of that, as i said, out of readiness. so what we're trying to do is to slow down that rate of spending that's going on so it will not require as deep a dive as we're going to have to have in readiness. so what we're doing, and what i urged the chairman and the service chiefs is to take steps to try to implement savings now. we've implemented a freeze on hiring. we've implemented a freeze on temporary hires. we're probably going to impact about 46,000 jobs. we are impacting about 46,000 jobs just by doing that. we're cutting back on maintenance. we're cutting back on other areas in order to try to find what we can. most of this is reversible. most of this, if we don't get sequester, we're going to be able to reverse and be able to get back on track. but obviously if we hit sequester, then, you know, some say, you know, sequester might just happen for a period of a
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few weeks, which i doubt frankly. if it goes into effect. but the impact of sequester then will multiply the impact on our readiness. look, there's only -- there's only one way to deal with this. i've been saying it it time and time again, and i think there are members here that agree, you got to address the larger deficit issue and to address a large deficit issue and my own experience having participated in every budget summit that we've had in past years, you got to be able to develop a balanced package in order to do that. that's just the nature of dealing with the size deficit -- size of deficits that you got. my preference, frankly, is that the congress would do the big deal, get it done, get this behind us, detrigger sequester, some this constant uncertainty, this month-to-month situation where we don't know what the hell we're going to get.
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that should end. in the absence of that deal, obviously i'll support whatever package you can put together to try to detrigger sequester. whatever you can do to make sure this doesn't happen. i mean, i cannot imagine that people would stand by and deliberately hurt this country in terms of our national defense by letting this take place. >> i'll only add briefly that most of the things we're doing are reversible. that is our goal, that they would be reversible. even if you reverse them it will take sometime, and i can't predict that, we're trying to stretch readiness. i want to make sure you all realize one other thing. we took the decision on the carrier postponement very seriously because there is a human dimension to this. if you're getting ready to deploy, you cancel your rent, potentially you cancel your apartment, you sell your car, you cancel education classes.
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there's a human aspect to this, and now we postpone it and they're still there. so the effects are felt even now. >> ok. i guess that ends my time. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the skunk is about to arrive at the picnic, but i'd like to share a couple of things, first to clarify some things to make sure we all understand things that are facts. the national military command center -- let me get my timer going here -- at the pentagon after receiving the mish reports of the incident from the state department, notified the office of the secretary of defense and joint staff. this information quickly passed onto the two of you, is that correct? >> correct. >> general hamm, i have a great deal of respect for general hamm and his two predecessors after we developed africom. that was somewhat significant
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in that effort. of course, africom, with the exception of egypt, has the continent and has the control of that. it would have operational control of the d.o.d. assets in the event that action and around libya would be necessary. now, africom consistently faces resourcing shortfalls. i know sometimes you don't hear this loud and clear but we do over a period of time, we know you can't continue to expand into new areas, as we did in africom. let's keep in mind we didn't have any activity there. and you know this prior to the time we made the conscious decision after 9/11, the original 9/11, that we have a serious problem in africa and we are going to have to deal with that problem and we came up with the idea of forming five african brigades. a lot of these things are going on right now. did you have any conversation, either one of you, with general
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hamm regarding the security situation in north africa prior to these attacks that is the subject of today? >> senator, i'm in almost continual touch with general hamm who provides me regular reports from africom as to the issues he's dealing with. there is no question that that area of that combatant command has increased in terms of the threats that we're dealing with and it's increased in terms of the issues related to going after elements of al qaeda. >> did he ever request additional assets there, mr. secretary? >> senator, my view was whatever general hamm asked, we did more than try to respond. >> yeah, i know you did, and we
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did too. i talked to him about this, and we know that the assets just weren't available when you look at the other places. it's not as if only one place is on fire. they're all on fire right now, and this is the problem that we've got. the "washington post" columnist said that the president had a briefing with the principles committee review to -- in mitigation of the threats. this would have been the day before. the committee, my understanding, is made up of the secretary of defense, secretary of state, director of national intelligence and some others. were the two of you at this hearing -- this meeting, it would have been the day before, september 10? >> i believe being at that meeting that looked at what the potential threats were as a result of going into september 11. >> at that meeting -- i have a chart over here and i'm sure you had a chance to see it, knowing the chain of events
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that happened on the left side are things that happened prior to all of this. what i consider to be warning signals that anyone should be able to look -- recognizing the resource problem that we have. .
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to resolve this problem, you've talked about the problem is there, you know, you can't continue to look at congress when in fact we have in the president's own budget, on the four years, the first four years that he was there, at $5.3 trillion of deficit, it's an over simplification. but you can say almost all of government under his budget has increased by about 10% except for the military. except for defense. now, i can debate that with anyone who wants to debate, but that has to be said because this is a problem that we have dealt with and you've talked about, but we've goth to get on record, this administration hat not given the priorities -- has not given the priorities to the military. that's my statement. you can agree with or not agree with. we have to do something about it. about an hour and 20 minutes after the first attack on benghazi, the compound,
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secretary panetta, you and chairman dempsey were at the white house for a prescheduled meeting on a different topic at that time. i think that's when tom came in and informed all of you and the president about what happened in mens about -- in benghazi. is that the right time trame? >> -- timeframe? >> yes, this was one of the weekly meetings with the president and i should tell you that just before i went into that meeting i got an update that there had been the attack there. so it's something i introduced to the president. >> ok. that's a depood clarification. let me do this. in the interest of time. i want to make two definitions here. one would be the definition -- i call it the compound, some call it the temporary mission facility, t.m.f. it doesn't really matter what you call it. that was what would be comparable to an embassy, but it was a compound.
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the other attack, one attack was on the compound. other was on the annex. that was about an hour later. that was about a mile away. so, those two things we want to clarify, i think both of you would agree, those are two perhaps separate or could be argued are separate attacks that took place. the other definition that i'd want in terms is either these two attacks or one or the other would be classified as the spontaneous eruption of violence or a planned terrorist attack. i think cbs reported that the counterterrorism officials -- ok, let me just run through this real quick here, if you give me a little tolerance here, mr. chairman. >> well, he do have to stick to our seven-minute rule. a little tolerance, of course. >> a little tolerance, all right. at the time of the meeting, the white house took place about 11:00. would you have -- how would you have characterized the attack on the -- or either one of you -- on the compound? not the annex, the compound.
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>> at that point i didn't know. i just knew there were americans -- >> it could have been either one, couldn't it? >> that's right. >> it could have been spontaneous or preplanned. we don't know that right now. i have to ask the aim question about the annex. wouldn't you agree that that was a prelanded terrorist attack -- preplanned terrorist attack? unequivocally. >> at the time, you know, obviously when this was going on, we weren't sure what was taking place there but when i later found out that you had r.p.g.'s and mortars and there was an attack on that second facility, there was no question in my mind it was a terrorist attack. >> my position on that would be they knew that at the time because i've talked to several different people who stated that they knew it and unequivocally that would have been a terrorist attack. and of course the thing i'm getting -- do you agree, mr. secretary, that it was unequivocally a terrorist attack on the annex? >> when i appeared before this committee three days afterwards i said it was a terrorist
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attack. >> very good. that's what john brennan said also. he used the word unequivocally. i would have to say we have to understand sometimes someone's going to have to ask the question, if that was true and we knew all that on the sunday this presentation by susan rice, for all of america, said it was -- we have today is that the fact is -- was, this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. unquote. i won't even ask you to respond to that but i think it's important that people understand that everybody knew on that sunday that it was a preplanned, premeditated attack. thank you for your tolerance, mr. chairman. >> senator reed. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. secretary, and mr. dempsey. as you point out in your testimony, two attacks, one on the compound, one on the annex.
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but as the time chart indicates, there seems to be a significant gap between the first attack on the annex at midnight and the deployment of mortars and r.p.g.'s. did that indicate to either of you that this -- it took a while for them to sort of organize themselves, to conduct a full-blown attack on the annex? that in fact it was something akin to one of a meeting engagement where they seize an opportunity and then they quickly fill in and supplement their fire power to get a much more coordinated attack? suggesting there was a improvisation here as well as planning? >> well, the second one, senator, was clearly much more deliberate, much more planned and -- but probably was as well opportunistic because the people had moved from the temporary mission facility. and there was a considerable gap.
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but i would say two things in addition. one is, we accept the general timeline and also it's because it's consistent with the accountability review board. the second thing, though, is the gap didn't cause us to do anything differently. we acted based on the first attack. and it was a matter of time and distance at that point. >> both the timing of the attack suggests, and it's very difficult to sort out which a degree of planning but improvisation, is that a judgment? >> i haven't thought about the word improvisation. it was very well executed. they dropped six mortar rounds on a roof at some distance. that was pretty well done. >> i think there's no question that it was deliberate, it was opportunistic and i really believe that a lot of this was precoordinated, particularly
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with regard to the second attack. >> very good. going forward, secretary panetta, you have already indicated that you're going to augment embassy security personnel with additional marine forces. you also point out, which i think was not as entirely apparent before this attack, that the marines' major mission was internal security or protection of classified documents. >> that's right. >> and now you're talking about an enhanced mission. can you suggest some aspects of this enhanced mission? >> yes, sir, thanks. the marine security guards actually have fundamentally three missions. principally the protection of classified material. they have a secondary mission of helping to protect the personnel who occupy the embassy. and the third one is support for communications. what we're looking to do is, in
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select locations around the world, with the support and collaboration of the state department and with the marine corps, obviously, who have to build this, is let's call it thicken certain locations. but to be clear, we will never be able to put marine security detachment into a country which is located in a hostile area. the host nation has to guarantee at some level of protection of our facilities or we should make a decision to thin it out or potentially close it. >> another related aspect of this issue is that clearly, even with this expanded role, that security at diplomatic missions is the responsibility of the state department and the resources for that, other than the marine presence, our state department resources and those resources in your view, to compliment what you're doing, should be enhanced? mr. secretary? >> that's correct. we are working with the state department and that's where we
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came up with the almost 1,000 more marines that we would try to deploy at those embassies that are identified as the most vulnerable. >> let me follow up on the issue of afrikaan because it is our newest sink and you have taken steps to provide them with more action-ready reaction forces for want of a better term. can you indicate the current posture of sort of the -- what general ham has available, understanding long distances and if you don't have adequate intelligence it's hard to even preposition resources to react. but, what have you been doing to help? >> i would never drag you into our internal processes but we have an annual process called the global force management process where combatant commanders and service chiefs collaborate on distribution of the force worldwide based on the
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threat assessments, national security interests. africom is particularly challenged because of the commitments we have elsewhere but also because of the lack of basing and authority to place facilities internal to the continent. and as a result most of their resources reside in southern europe or afloat when we have them. in terms what have we've done to augment, he will have effective his own commanders force. we have position fleet antiterrorism support teams and put them on a various changing level of alert posture. so if you think about response, it's a combination of alert posture and flight time with the necessary, if you can get it, access into a country to land and flow. we are better postured today to respond to preemptive requests from the state department. in other words, left of bang
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than we were. when something happens it becomes a far different situation. >> thank you. >> senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary panetta, i join with all others in thanking you for your many years of service. been an honor to have known you and appreciate your leadership of the department of defense and i'm sure you will continue to contribute in the future. and we will miss you. general dempsey, i was just going over your written statement and i have to admit, it's one of the more bizarre statements that i have ever seen in my years in this committee. when you're talking about the benghazi issue, you say, we positioned our forces in a way that was informed by and and consistent with available threat estimates. then you go on to say our
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military was appropriately responsive. even though seven hours passed and two americans died at the end of that. then you go on and say, we did what our posture and capabilities allowed. there's a -- [inaudible]. there's a base there. it's about an hour and a half flight by a -- i've forgotten the kind of plane i took when i went to benghazi. there was, including in all of those factors on that board there, there was a message sent, an urgent message, sent back to the state department on august 15 that, quote they could not -- the consulate could not with stand a sustained attack on the consulate.
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with september 11. i would argue there was no outpost in all of our diplomatic corps that had that see quest of events, these warnings, including many warnings from our ambassador about a lack of security, including even a message that was found in the rubble of the consulate by a cnn reporter weeks later. so, for you to testify that our posture did not allow a rapid response, our posture was not there because we didn't take into account the threats to that consulate. and that's why four americans died. we could have placed forces there. we could have had aircraft and other capabilities as short distance away as that base. so for you to testify before this committee that they were consistent with available threat estimates is simply false. that our military was
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appropriately responsive, what would have been an inappropriate response? since any forces -- no forces arrived there until well after these murders took place and obviously your capabilities allowed you to be positioned to intervene very shortly. and finally, all of this is the result of the so-called light footprint. after gaddafi fell, many of us made it very clear that they needed our help. secure the arms caveps, then help -- help them -- caches, help them secure their borders, but the light footprint we did not provide. so it was almost predictable, almost, maybe not predictable, that bad things were going to happen in libya. because here was a fledgling government that had never governor governed before. without the assistance that we could have provided them with. i begged you, secretary panetta, for example, to send a hospital
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ship over there to help treat their 30,000 wounded. what did we do? we sent a couple to hospitals in the united states of america. so i'll be glad to hear your response, general dempsey, as to how the available threat estimates you were informed by, how our military was appropriately responsive, since seven -- since four people died seven hours later, with the hundreds of airplanes, ships, planes and men and women who were serving available in that part of the world and how did you do what your posture and capabilities allowed? >> thank you, senator. let me begin by saying i stand by my testimony. your dispute of it notwithstanding. but i would like to say that -- >> happens you can give me some facts that would substantiate. >> sure, i will, senator. we base our response on the combined effects what have we
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get from the intelligence community, and that's the network of intel agencies, as well, importantly, based on what we get from the state department and the chief admission and chief of station in the country. >> did you ever get the message that said they could not are stand a sustained attack on the consulate? >> i was tracking that intelligence, i was tracking -- >> did you receive that information? >> i did. >> so it didn't bother you? >> it bothered me a great deal. >> why didn't you put forces in place to be ready to respond? >> because we never received a request to do so, number one. and number two, we -- >> you never heard of ambassador stevens' repeated warnings -- >> i had, through general ham. but we never received a request for support from the state department which would have allowed us to -- >> so it's the state department's fault? >> i'm not blaming the state department. >> who would you blame? who is responsible then? clear that an assessment was made, that they could not with stand a sustained attack on the consulate with it being
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september 11 and many other indications that are on that board over there of various attacks that have already taken place. >> i stand by the report of the accountability review board. but i would also say, senator, i was also concerned at that time with yemen, khartoum, islamabad, kabul, baghdad. we had some pretty significant intel threat streams against those places as well. >> i've seen some of those estimates and none of them rose to the level of the threat in benghazi. did they rise to that level, that they could not with stand a sustained attack? >> yes. they were -- yes, they did. >> well, so, basically you're saying what our posture -- our capabilities allowed. you did what our capabilities allowed. we didn't have the capability to station forces a short way away?
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we have those capabilities? >> we do those have those capabilities -- >> we didn't do -- we didn't use those capabilities. >> well, sir, based on time, distance and alert posture, as i said to senator reed a moment ago, they wouldn't have got therein in time. >> it's an hour and a half flight, general. if you'd had them, a base there. and finally, i would ask again both of you, what i asked you last march when 7,500 citizens of syria had been killed. it's now up to 60,000. how many more have to die? before you recommend military action? and did you support the recommendation by secretary of state, then secretary of state clinton, and then head of c.i.a. general petraeus that we provide weapons to the resistance in syria? do you support that? >> we did. >> you did support that? >> we did. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much.
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senator udall. >> good morning, gentlemen. thank you for appearing here today. i also want to add my voice to those here, mr. secretary, in thanking you for your long service to our country and we wish you well as you return to your farm and your grandchildren in california. general, i'd like to look more broadly at the challenges that we face in africa. and i want to acknowledge that on september 11, 2012, when this tragic incident occurred, that you were fighting a war in afghanistan, you were conducting counterterrorism missions all over the globe, training troops, patrolling our skies and seas, hunting war criminals and providing humanitarian relief. and despite that enormous mission load, you've clearly taken the deaths of these four state department employees in
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benghazi to heart as if they were your own. and we will learn from this, we will do everything possible to assure it doesn't happen again. secretary clinton made that clear in her compelling testimony over the last weeks and i know you share that point of view. so, again, turning to africa, i know that we've conducted the training and developed partnerships with a number of african militaries for years. i think in north africa. talk a little bit about those training relationships, those formal ties, and how they're going to help us deny extremists the opportunities to develop footholds in that part of the world. and specifically, should we be expanding training missions like operation flintlock or building other d.o.d. state department partnership programs in the africom? >> the short answer is yes but i won't stop at the short answer.
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the threat network that exists in north africa and west africa is a group of desperate organizations, some of which -- disparity organizations, some of which aspire to and in fact embrace the al qaeda ideology, who network themselves and syndicate themselves as they find common cause or to take advantage of ungoverned space. and so to your point, senator, what we're seeing here in the aftermath of had, call it what you will, the wave, the arab spring, the changes in north and west africa, which have created some ungoverned space, is in fact a place where we have to be very careful not to allow these movements to take sanction ware. we are also always best at addressing those, working through partners, whether they're bilateral partners.
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it's a little challenging now to have a relationship with a bilateral military force that is itself brand new in some of these countries. and so we've been also working with regional security apparatus. for example, somalia, west africa, economic community of west african states. and to your point, though, we do have to do more to enable those partners to control that ungoverned space so that it doesn't become sanctuary. >> senator, if i could. >> please, mr. secretary. >> we've learned a lot about how to confront terrorists and al qaeda affiliated groups, not only from what we've done in the fattah and afghanistan and iraq, but the fact is that we have some very effective operations in yemen and general ham did an outstanding job in somalia where
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a few years ago we thought somalia had no chance to be able to stabilize. but as a result of the countries in the region, as well as our providing some direct assistance there to assist the forces there and to be able to get the intelligence they needed to go after al-shabab, web of had -- we have had a very effective operation there at undermining al-shabab and their strength in somalia. we're taking the same lessons, general ham is taking the same lessons and applying those to other areas in the region. trying to determine how can we best assist the countries in the region through intelligence, through training, through our presence, be able to ensure that we develop better security in their countries as well. he's doing a great job at developing that capacity. >> mr. secretary, would you --
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are you suggesting i should say that part of what we've done in somalia and what we see developing in these other countries is by focusing on resource shortages, creating more educational opportunity, using smart power, if will you, we're seeing some success, some conditional success, but what's happening in somalia gives us hope that there's further utility for these approaches. >> i agree with that. >> can i turn, since you're here, and i know this is on everybody's mind, to sequestration. would you lay out your thoughts generally or specifically, in particular, if we allow sequestration to take hold, would that require a fundamental change in our national military strategy? >> absolutely. i'd have to -- as i've said -- look, the $487 billion that we were handed through the budget control act to be able to reduce the defense budget over 10 years , we understood that we had a
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responsibility to do our part with regards to deficit reduction. but we wanted to do it in a way that wouldn't hollow out the force or make these across the board d cuts that would hurt every area of the military. so we developed a strategy that we thought represented what the force of the 21st century ought to look like. and then we build a budget based on that. and we've recommended savings pursuant to that budget that were incorporated in our f.y. 2013 budget and frankly we were doing the same thing for f.y. 2014. if sequester takes place and we suddenly have another half a trillion dollars that i got to take out of the defense budget, in an across-the-board fashion, frankly the defense strategy we put in place i'd have to throw out the window. and we would clearly impact seriously, particularly on maintenance and readiness, as i said, we would have a terrible
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readiness crisis. but as time went on and the erosion that would take place in our capabilities, instead of being a first-rate power in the world, we'd turn into a second-rate power. that would be the result of sequester. >> general dempsey, if i could follow up on the secretary's general analysis of where we are, we're talking about increasing the number of marine security personnel at our embassies. if sequestration went into effect, how would that affect our other missions? i think this is -- you're potentially robbing peter to pay paul. >> that's right. we haven't done that analysis but what i will say is it would cause us -- we'd have to go back and look at our national security interests and as we always do, and make sure that we're addressing them in the right priority. i think where you would see it effect us most quickly and most prominently is, you know, last
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year we talked about rebalancing to the pacific, we also talk internally about the balance we have kind of vertically. if rebalancing to the pacific a a horizontal activity, vertically we have to decide how much of the force can we have forward, how much rotational, how much in the homeland and that balance would change and we'd have less ability to project power forward which means you're less able to deter and -- deter enemies and assure allies. that's a significant change. we would have significant challenges in our factories and departmentows that will have a long-term effect. >> i know my time is expired. it feels like we're finally getting a handle on our ops tempo for our personnel and what i hear you applying is that we're going to go back to a one-to-one or a one-to-two even ops tell foe for our men and
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women in uniform and we've asked a lot of them over the last 12 years -- >> i can't answer -- i can answer that really quickly. you won't find this chairman arguing that we need to do more with less. you'll find me arguing that if that happens we need to do less with less. >> we'll leave it there. thank you again, gentlemen. >> thank you, senator udall. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, you and i have been friends for all of my -- going on 19 years in congress. i value that friendship and i'm very appreciative of your service to our country and your commitment to our country. gentlemen, both of you have in previous statements, as well as in your comment it's today, used the term -- comments today, used the term terrorist attack, deliberate attack, precoordinated attack as well as other adjectives to describe this incident. mr. secretary, you have been a leader in the intelligence community, of course being at the c.i.a. so you've been on both sides of
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the issue, of providing intelligence as well as receiving intelligence. would you consider this instant to be an intelligence failure? >> i think that some of the initial assessments that were made, you know, they should have taken more time to assess the full situation as to what had taken place. look, in intelligence, like anything else, you make some initial assessments and then you go back and look at it and look at it again, get more information, build a picture of what took place and then, based on that, hopefully provide a much more accurate picture of what had taken place. i think some of the initial assessments here were not on the money. >> general dempsey, how would you respond just to whether or not this was intelligence failure? >> you know, senator, we could ask that question a lot, actually, after anything happens. this one i actually think of
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more as an intelligence gap. you know, i think there is an impression, there's two impressions that have kind of worked against us over time. one is that we can be as responsive as necessary. that's not always the case. there are some issues of time and distance and overflight rights that actually affect us in our ability to be respobsive. the second one is that -- responsive. the second one is that we're kind of all-seeing and all-knowing. there's some places on the planet where we have some gaps and i think north ar can -- north africa's probably one of them. >> to both of you, if you had had intelligence, that there was a storm brewing among this group of individuals, however we characterize them, with respect to an attack, at some point in time on that facile -- facility
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in ben gazzy, obviously you've been prepared for it -- benghazi, obviously you've been prepared for it. is that a fair statement? >> there's no question. the example of that is, you know, we've had a number of other embassies that have faced -- like khartoum, that we thought there was a real threat to khartoum, we had advanced intelligence that that was the case. and we were prepared to move people out. as a matter of fact, the embassy took steps to move some people out and we've done that there. we've done that in several other areas where we get that kind of advanced notice, we can respond. >> you're familiar with the timeline that's on that chart over there and suffice it to say that there were attacks on the embassy or excuse me, on the compound, beginning in march of 2012. there were a series of other attacks on western assets, both u.s., red cross, u.k. was the president aware of that timeline, of all of those instances that occurred?
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>> i'm not sure. >> were each of you aware of each of those incidents that had occurred? >> yeah, we were. every week general ham sends a report to the secretary of defense on events in his area of responsibility and he copies me and he had been tracking the security situation in libya. and -- >> and would that report not go to the president? >> not routinely. >> would you not have discussions with the president about hot spots around the world and what was going on? >> we do. >> do you know of any other place in the world, general dempsey, where this number of attacks had occurred over this period of time? >> do i, actually, senator. this was not a unique situation. look, looking back at it, of course it looks like it should have been crystal clear that there was an attack eminent. >> where else outside of
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afghanistan, out of iraq, if we had weapons fired on a compound, where we had a vehicle attack, where we had a bomb thrown over the compound wall, where we had a u.n. special envoy attack, where we had r.p.g. attacks and so forth and so on, where outside of afghanistan would that have happened? >> yemen, notably. we've had a great deal of challenges in yemen. >> we had that at our embassy at yemen? >> a consistent threat stream against the ambassador personally. >> so what response have you made inemen? >> at the request of the embassy, we've got a fleet antiterrorism support team there to thicken their defenses and we've also got aircraft located in a nearby country that can respond in ex trems i. >> so that's the second time you've used the phrase, the state department didn't request or in this instance the state department did request.
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general dempsey, i think that is a very weak response and reaction to this incident. you are the chairman of the chiefs. you knew what was happening in benghazi. you failed to respond in a way that provided security to that particular united states mission complex, when apparently you did respond in a positive way in yemen, you say. am i correct in that? >> well, you're incorrect in saying i failed to respond to a request. look, what we do is in collaboration with our agency partners, as we try to distribute our resources. >> general, you -- >> i don't distribute them personally. >> you said earlier in response to senator mccain that you were aware of the august cable from ambassador stevens in which he said, security at benghazi is not adequate. am i correct? >> i was aware of -- yes, of
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course i was aware of it. because it came in in general ham's report. general ham actually called the embassy to see if they wanted to extend the special security team there and was told no. >> why was that case and who was it that said we do not need additional security at benghazi to general ham? >> i don't know where that decision was eventually made but it's in the accountability review board result. >> well, well. my time is up. but your responses, general dempsey, are very inadequate and in my opinion the same kind of inadequacy for the security that you provided at that consulate. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and secretary panetta, thank you for your service, and general dempsey, yours also.
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and secretary panetta, we're going to miss you. there's lot of people that served with you longer than i did but i can imagine the fondness they've grown and the relationships you'd had. general dempsey, for your service, i want to thank you, too. you've been most kind when i've been over to the pentagon and trying to help me understand more of how we can totally secure our country and make it a better world. west virginia's proud to house the state department diplomatic security training center and the agents who fought brafle very likely might have been trained in that part of our great state. i understand also the pilots from the western national guard out of clarksberg, west virginia, were some of the first to respond. they changed the mission quickly and were ready to get resources into libya and it shows that the strong force of the guard and the support role the guard plays and so with that, gentlemen, i have a few questions. first of all, i was here and i
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said one of the my most profound moments in times of being a senator was when i heard admiral mullen at that time, before he retired. question was asked to him, what is the biggest there the to the united states? i'm learning about the different hot spots of the world and the challenges we had as a nation, defending ourself and the world, and i was ready to hear and he said without skipping a beat, the debt of our nation is the greatest threat we face as a nation. and i took that so seriously. and i've been committed to a large fix, a big fix, the bowles-simpson approach, which is a three-pronged template and we've had a hard time moving forward on that. now we've come down to where we said if we didn't get the fix, we would have sequestering. so we're faced and the american public is watching us, engaging what we do, and if we say -- if we do what we say and fulfill our promises.
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if we can't come to the financial fix the country needs, sequestering is our penalty. we don't want to penalize and hollow out the force, if you will. how can we help fulfill our promise to the american people that we'll -- since we can't come to this, i hope we, can i hope we avoid it, but if we don't, is there language we could give you all to live with the amount of sequestering that the cuts will bring? >> senator, there is no fix here. i got to tell you that it would be irresponsible for the congress to allow sequester to go into place. sequester was not designed as a mechanism that was supposed to happen. it was designed to be so nuts that everybody would do everything possible to make sure it didn't happen. that's what sequester was about. and now to say, well, somehow we
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can't come together to figure out what savings we have to put in place in order to trigger sequester, so i guess we'll just have to let sequester happen, i think is irresponsible. >> then we have to, would you not agree if you were sitting still in congress and we can't come to an agreement, i would hope that we could come to an agreement, that we can find a $4 trillion, $5 trillion swing over 10 years which is what has been recommended and it's going to have to be reform and revenue and there's got to be cuts in spending and everyone has to participate. i looked a this spending and i look over the period of time i think you and i have spoken about that. this is the least amount of drawdown postwar that we have asked for but it seems to be doing the most damage. i think you were telling me the timing of it is hitting you harder than anything else. >> that's right. >> if i can move on to general dempsey. my question is, what is happening in mali right now? if you can give me a little oversight on that.
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there's a weak central government, a strong al qaeda presence, a rampant armed militants and when we look at mali, are there any lessons from benghazi that can be applied to our security posture there? >> well, to what's happening, the french has had some good success in pushing the armed groups north into the northern desert. the important point now would be to have the forces that they're training flow in behind them and then at some point mali will need help with its governance challenges because at some level these are also disputes between the tuaregs and the northern malians and the southern malians but i do think there's always lessons to be learned. and in terms of learning from benghazi, i think to your point about -- we've been in close touch with the embassy there.
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they've thinned out the ranks a bit. that's a prudent measure. as the secretary said earlier, senator, the way you avoid these issues in the future is somewhat with hardening, somewhat with early decision making. and when the security situation appears to be moving in a negative direction, the decision to either reinforce or to thin or to close needs to be taken in a timely fashion. >> secretary panetta, after 9/11 we understood took a whole of government approach to make sure our intelligence systems are integrated. and i guess can you tell me if something has gone wrong there and did we miss something? i mean, i'm hearing all testimony, people have legitimate concerns, great concerns, and our heart goes out and prayers go out to the families of the four brave americans that we lost. did something break down that we can repair? >> you know, look, there
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obviously were a number of reforms on the intelligence agencies coming out of 9/11 and i can tell from you my own experience that i think there was -- we have developed a tremendous teamwork within the intelligence community in which we share information, we go after targets together, we develop the best analysis that we can on the threats that are confronting the country. the problem that happens here, and this is something that does need attention, is whether or not we have the best intelligence assets, the best intelligence resources in the areas where we need good information. i mean, you know, we've got a lot of assets around, we've got a lot of resources that are there, we've got human intelligence. but if you have an area where you don't have resources there,
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if you don't have good intelligence, then it's going to create a gap. as general dempsey said. and i think with regards to those specific individuals that were involved in this attack, there was a gap. we didn't have the intelligence that would have given us a heads-up that this kind of thing was going to happen. and that is something that we do need to pay attention to. >> my time is up. thank you both. >> thank you, senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to share in what all of my colleagues have said about your distinguished service, secretary panetta, and how grateful we are for everything you've done for our country. deeply appreciated it. and i thank you both for being here. i wanted to follow up, general dempsey, on, as i understand it, you received briefings from general ham that would include intelligence reporting as well as the reports from the state department and you received those regarding the situation in
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libya, including the information about the prior attacks within benghazi, including those on our consulates, is that right? >> yes, we get reports weekly from each combatant commander. >> and so as the a.r.b. found, as well as the report on this as well, but the a.r.b. had said that there was a clear and vivid picture of a rapidly deteriorating threat environment in eastern libya. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> ok. thank you. one of the things you had said is that, secretary, that you were aware that ambassador stevens, of his cable that said that the consulate could not with stand a coordinated attack. is that right? >> correct. >> general, you had said that you previously were aware of that? >> yeah, i was aware of the communication back to the state department. >> and you said that the state department didn't request assistance. is that right? general, i believe you said that. >> that's correct.
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>> yes. >> did you ever bring that to the attention of secretary clinton? i mean, this is a pretty surprising and shocking important cable to receive from an ambassador that, where our people were housed could, not with stand a coordinated attack. did you ever speak with secretary clinton about that? >> senator, you know, as i mentioned in my testimony, nctc had identified almost 281 facilities that were under threat of one kind or another. and to deal with that, i mean, that's not our responsibility. that's the state department's responsibility. >> i would add my straightforward question, particularly to general dempsey, you said you were aware of the cable, did you ever bring it to secretary clinton's attention given that it said from her ambassador that the consulate could not with stand a coordinated attack? yes or no? >> did not. the cable was to the state department. not to me. >> i understand. but you were aware of it. it's a pretty important cable
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and you said you were also aware of the deteriorating security situation. >> as a result of our meetings on the counter-- >> but did you bring it to secretary clinton? >> i did not. >> did you ever bring it to the president's attention either of you? >> no. >> no. >> ok. based on the deteriorating security situation, we have this map that has the potential military bases in the area. as i understand it, we have f-16's at aviano is that true? were they deployed that night? >> they were not. >> why not? >> the -- for a couple of reasons. one is that the -- in order to deploy them it requires the -- this is the middle of the night now, these are not aircraft on strip alert. they're there as part of our commitment to nato and europe. and so as we looked at the timeline, it was pretty clear that it would take up to 20 hours or so to get them there. secondly, senator, importantly,
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it was the wrong tool for the job. >> i guess it's not clear to me why -- you said in your testimony that we are on heightened alert on september 11, why it would take over 20 hours. we know that flight time for an f-16 is not -- certainly not 20 hours. even if we were to refuel from aviano. and given the deteriorating security situation in -- that you've described, it really is dish don't understand why we didn't have armed assets somewhere in the area that could have responded in time at least for the second attack on the annex. that's not clear to me and i think that is insufficient as we look at what happened here. but i do have a follow-up question. secretary panetta, you said you were in a briefing with the president of the united states, i believe it was about 5:00 our time. and you had just learned about the incident on the consulate. what conversation did you have with the president? what did he ask you to do as a
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result of this attack and throughout the night what communications were you having with him and can you tell us on a timeline as to who was calling the shots there, if it wasn't him, another member of the white house? >> at the time we had -- we were concerned about cairo and demonstrations in cairo and then we had just picked up the information that something was happening, there was an apparent attack going on in ben gazzy. i informed the president of what -- ben gazzy. i informed the president -- benghazi. i informed the president of that attack. he directed myself and general dempsey to do everything we needed to do to try to protect lives there. >> did he ask you how long it would take to deploy assets, including armed -- >> no -- >> aviation to the area? >> no, he said do whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people there.
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>> did you have any -- so he didn't ask what you ability we had in the area and what we could do? >> no. i think i mean, he relied on both myself as secretary and on general dempsey's capabilities. he knows generally what we've deployed into the region. we've presented that to him in other briefings. so he knew generally what was deployed out there. but as to specifics about time, etc., etc., no, he just left that up to us. >> did you have any further communications with him that night? >> no. >> did you have any further communications, did he ever call that you night to say, how are things going? what's going on? where's the consulate? >> no. but we were aware that as we were getting information on what was taking place there, particularly when we got information that the ambassador, his life had been lost, we were aware that that information went to the white house. >> did you communicate with
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anyone else at the white house that night? >> no. >> no one else called you to say , how are things going? >> no. >> ok. and since then, has the president ask you -- asked you, why weren't we able to get, in light of the second attack that occurred seven hours later, armed assets there in order to help those who were left and attacked in the annex? >> the president has made very clear to both myself and general dempsey that, with regards to future threats, we have got to be able to deploy forces in a position where we can more rapidly respond. >> but just to be clear, that night he didn't ask you what assets we had available and how quickly they could respond and what we could do to help those individuals? >> the biggest problem that night was that nobody knew really was what was going on there. >> and there was no follow-up during the night? at least from the white house directly? >> no. no, there wasn't. >> i would -- if i could just
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correct one thing. i wouldn't say there was no follow-up on the white house. there was no follow-up to my knowledge with the president. but his staff was engaged with the national military command center and pretty constantly through the period which is the way it would normally work. >> but no direct communication from him? >> no not on my part, no. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator ayotte. senator gill grand -- gillibrand. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for being here today. of course, thank you for your service. we are incredibly grateful for all that you do. secretary panetta, you said in your november remarks to the center for american security about al qaeda, we've slowed the primary cancer, but we know the cancer has also metastasized to other parts of the global body. presumably you're including yemen, somalia and elsewhere. how would you recommend reorganizing our strategy to stem the growing and changing al qaeda global threat?
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>> we are working on that with the other agencies involved. what is needed here is a comprehensive strategy overall that focuses on al qaeda and its various affiliates. to make sure that they have no place to hide. we've obviously done a very effective job in the fattah, doing a good job in afghanistan, iraq. we're doing a good job in yemen and somalia. as these affiliates are beginning to appear elsewhere, in mali and north africa, in syria, we have got to develop a comprehensive strategy that allows us to be able to develop operations against them wherever they're at. we're in the process of working on that strategy, we've already implemented some steps to try to deal with that. but we really do need to take a big picture view of all of the elements of al qaeda and how we
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can best make sure that they have no place to hide. >> i have some specific follow-up questions that i'll submit for the record but they may be classified answers. so that's why i'll submit them separately. i want to turn to cyber. according to recent reports, the pentagon has approved a major expansion of its u.s. cybercommand to include growing its ranks from approximately 900 to 4,900 personnel cyberwarriors. according to these same reports there will be three types of forces. those who will fortify the d.o.d.'s own network, those who will help commanders abroad plan and execute offensive attacks and those who will protect critical infrastructure like power grids and power plants. needless to say, this is absolutely necessary to protect our nation against what is becoming a leading security threat. however, i'm particularly interested in the last group, those who protect national infrastructure. the majority of this critical infrastructure's owned and operated by the private sector.
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given this, will the military rely on the national guard which is able to operate both -- under both title 10 and 32 authorities? >> senator, your description of how we are trying to prepare the force is accurate. we clearly don't have authority to do all of that. but we are trying to grow the right force so that if it became necessary and we had the authority to do all of those things, we would be prepared. the national guard will always be part of any endeavor and i think we'll find the right balance of active and guard as we move ahead. >> are there any particular obstacles that you can see now in terms of using the guard with a greater deal of responsibility in cyber? >> no. not uniquely, you know, not any obstacles that we don't have as well on the active side. >> and a broader question, how do you see our plan for
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recruiting and retaining enough cyberpersonnel, particularly ones of working in the offensive side, and one idea that i had considered thinking through is, we do rotc but imagine doing rotc specifically for cyberpersonnel. so you're getting these young men and women coming out of m.i.t. and stanford and r.p.i. who are some of the country's greatest engineers to hone their skills for cyberdefense and cyberattack missions within the d.o.d. >> senator, let me just say, in talking to keith alexander at n.s.a., he does not have any shortage of young people that want to be part of that effort. they view it as an opportunity to get involved, be on the cutting edge of the technology with regards to cyber, development tremendous skills there and be able to then go out and use those skills in the private sector. so he's got a lot of young people, a lot of young, very
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bright people, who are anxious to participate in this effort. >> to include, coming out of our military academies. >> turning to the subject of the hearing, benghazi sfisk specifically, i would like to talk a little bit about what you've learned from these events and how you advise the next secretary of defense to better prepare for similar events and how the department should adapt to the next generation including obviously the ma taftization of al qaeda and other terrorist groups and cyberattack, both of which obviously pose very serious threats to the security of our homeland. i'm specifically concerned that this was an attack in a country that the u.s. helped liberate from decades of dictatorship. that day, september 11, 2012, witnessed demonstrations in other countries that were part of the arab spring, countries that were supported -- that we supported the voice of democracy, but throughout these countries we continue to see jihadists and fundamentalist movements align against us and against our interests and perhaps funded by some of the
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gulf countries. what leverage would you -- what leverage should we be using with the gulf governments to address the support for groups that threaten our security? >> as i've testified here and i certainly would give this guidance to my successor, in dealing with these threats, you have to address each area of concern. first of all, you've got to develop better host country capabilities. that's one of the gaps right now in some of these country that we just saw, that they have not been able to develop a sufficient host force that provides that kind of security. we have got to work with them, we've got to bring as much leverage as we can on these countries, that they have a responsibility to be the first line of security for our embassies and we have to help them develop training and capabilities that are necessary
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to do that. secondly, we've got to harden these facilities. we do have to strengthen the security around our -- some of these embassies. be able to develop, you know, add the additional marines that are necessary to try to help provide that security as well. and ensure that they have the right training for the security guards that are around that embassy. thirdly, we need better intelligence. we just absolutely have to have good intelligence. whatever we do, wherever we're located, if we don't get that advanced intelligence that heads -- tense, that heads-up that we need, there isn't any way we can respond in time. we have to have better intelligence to -- as to what these groups are doing. and then lastly, we have to have a response force in the vicinity, to be able to respond quickly. once we get a heads-up, once we get an indication that something's going to happen, forces have to be in place and have a shorter response time in
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order to be able to deploy. there's no question these response times are too long and so we're trying to shorten that but i also want to just let you know that we are keeling -- dealing with, you know, the problem of distance in that area. it takes hours to be able to respond. . we have to get people ready, get airlift there, and then try to the -- fly to the target. all that has to be consider the more heads up we get, the better we can respond. >> thank you both for your service and your testimony. >> thank you very much, senator. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary panetta, you will be missed. you have served our nation well and you will be missed. we have talked about sequestrations which is
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important and i want to make sure we understand what happened on september 11 regarding benghazi. your testimony as i understand it is that you talked to the president of the united states one time. >> talked to him on september 11 with regard to the fact that we were aware this attack was taking place. >> one time. >> right. >> what time did you tell him that? >> approximately 5:00. >> general dempsey, did you ever talk to the president of the united states as all? >> i was with the secretary when, at that same time. >> did you talk to the president? >> yes. >> you talked to him how many times? >> the same one time. >> how long did the conversation last? >> we were there in the office for probably 30 minutes. >> so you talked to him for 30 minutes, one time, and you never talked to him again. neither one of you. >> until afterpards. >> after the attack was over.
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>> that's right. >> thank you. were there any ac-130 gun ships within 1,000 miles of benghazi, libya? >> no, sir. >> were there any ac-130 gun ships within ,000 miles of benghazi, libya? >> i have to go back and look at a map for the distance. >> you said the f-16 was not a good platform to defend the consulate. what would have been the appropriate platform? >> the appropriate platform would have been to have boots on the ground ahead of the event. after the event is in conduct, it would be very difficult to have -- >> so, well, let's just, i mean, would an ac-130 have been a good platform to help us end the conflict after the attack? >> if we had the adequate understanding of what was on the ground so that we weren't
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killing -- >> is there a saying in the military, when you go into harm's way, we've got your back? >> of course, yes, sir. >> don't you think that saying has been undermined here? how can people in the military, the foreign service, believe we've got their back when after over -- did you know how long the attack was going to last? >> no idea. >> it could have lasted for two days. now my question is, was one airplane anywhere in the world deployed in the aid of the conflict? did anybody launch an airplane? was any airplane launched anywhere in the world to help these people? >> well, we ultimately did launch 130's to go in and rescue people. >> when were they launched? >> they were launched in the peert of time when the team went in there and when we concluded the attack -- when the attack
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was concluded and said we have to get the people out of there. >> was any airplane launched anywhere in the world before the attack was concluded? >> if you're talking about a strike aircraft, no senator. >> was any soldier en route to help these people before the attack was concluded? >> well had deployed the staff teams. >> were they -- was anybody in motion before the attack concluded to help these people? anybody? >> only the personnel in tripoli. >> was any d. ofment d. asset ever deployed to help these people before the end of the attack? >> would you -- >> was any d.o.d. asset, aircraft or individual soldier, ever sent, put in motion, to help these people before the attack was over? >> if i could, as soon as we
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knew there was an attack, the national mission force and fast teams began -- >> the question is, did anybody leave any base anywhere to go to the aid of the people under attack in benghazi, libya, before the attack ended? >> no, because the attack ended before they could get off the ground. >> and we didn't know how long it would last. now back to the threat assessment. these 281 threats that we've received, can you go back and look and see if any of these threats have a cable from a u.s. ambassador saying, if we're attacked, the consulate is attacked in a coordinated fashion, we cannot defend the consulate and oh, by the way, there are al qaeda flags flying over government buildings? is there any other situation of these 281 that rise to that level? i want to know about it if there
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is. >> the state department would have the answer to that question. >> ok. let's talk about the state department. general dempsey, seems to me that generalham kept you pretty -- that general hamm kept you pretty well informed. >> i agree with that. >> did general hamm ever order a military asset in motion and someone told him to stand down? >> no. in fact he was with us in the pentagon. >> so he was with you. now you knew about the cable from ambassador stevens because general hamm informed you of it, is that correct? >> in a written weekly report. >> so when secretary clinton testified a few weeks ago that she had a clear-eyed assessment of the threat we faced in libya, is that really a credible statement, if she didn't know about the ambassador's cable on august 15 saying we can't tchevend place? >> well, i don't know that she didn't know about the cable.
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>> she said she didn't. >> then that's -- >> are you stunned that she didn't? >> i would call myself surprised she didn't. >> are you surprised that the president of the united states never calls you, secretary panetta, and says how is it going? >> you know, normally in these situations -- >> did he know the level of threat -- >> let me finish the answer, we were deploying the forces, he knew we were deploying the forces, he was being kept -- >> i hate to interrupt you but i've got limited time. we didn't deploy any forces. >> the event was over. >> mr. speaker you didn't know how long the attack was last. did you ever call him and say, mr. president, it looks like we don't have anything to get there any time soon? >> the event was over before -- >> it lasted almost eight hours and my question to you is during that eight-hour period, did the
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president show any curiosity about how is this going, what kind of assets do you have helping these people? did make that phone call? >> look, there's no question in my mind the president of the united states was concerned about american lives. >> all due respect, i don't believe that's a credible statement if he never called and asked you are we helping these people, what's happening to these people. we have a second round dfment >> the president of the united states, the purpose of staff is to be able to get that kind of information and those staff were working with us. >> do you think it's a typical response of the president of the united states to make one phone call, do what you can, and never call you back again and ask you how is it going, by the way, show any frustration, we done have any assets to help these people, for over seven hours? >> the president is well informed about what is going on. make no mistake about that. >> well that is interesting to hear. we'll talk about that in the second round. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and
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thank you, both secretary panetta and general dempsey for being here this morning. secretary panetta, thank you so much for your long and very important service to this country. i think as you all have pointed out that it is important for the administration to continue to be open and upfront about what happened in benghazi. i think it's important for us to look in a factual, objective way to the extent that we can at what has happened here and to try to address that and the grand standing and finger pointing is not really helpful. so i appreciate your willingness to look at what happened here and as has been acknowledged, the bottom line is our agencies didn't do enough to protect our people on the ground, we've got to do better. as the accountability review
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board pointed out, there were system failures, there were leadership and management deficiencies, and i appreciate that secretary clinton took responsibility for that and that we are looking at recommendations to address that. so thank you for your willingness to be part of that process. one of the things that happened in the followup to the a.r.b. was an effort by the senate to address the transfer of funds that the state department requested to provide the necessary resources to address security risks and to transfer the personnel to mission -- meet mission imperatives around the world. and i'm pleased that again this week the senate has tried to do that. i certainly hope the house will take up that legislation and pass it so that we can address
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the resources that are required to make sure this doesn't happen again. in our embassies and missions around the world. and both the a.r.b. and the homeland security government affairs report pointed out that congress and the administration share in the responsibility for making sure that those resources are available. now, my question really goes to a followup to what senator graham was discussing and i understand it was raised earlier. it's something i raised with deputy secretary nyes before the foreign relations committee and it does have to do with what -- what capacity we have in dangerous regions to provide support from the military when we have diplomatic missions and embassies that get into trouble.
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and i wonder if you could -- you've talked about the fact that we don't have -- did not at the time of benghazi, have those assets in the region but can you talk about what kind of coordination you envision going forward to address areas where there is potential risk? and obviously northern africa and the mideast are certainly these days those kinds of areas. what kind of communication and coordination are we doing to address this? >> well, you know, we have worked with the state department on a team to assess the different embassies there to determine what are the additional steps that have to be taken in order to provide security, and also what additional steps do we need in order to ensure that we have the intelligence necessary to give us a heads up?
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so we are taking steps, we're going to provide, you know, another, almost 1,000 marines as detachments to be able to target those embassies that are most vulnerable, in addition to that, obviously we're going to try to do what we can to strengthen the host nation's capability to provide security. i know the intelligence community is working to develop better intelligence ton able to give us a heads up and frankly we're doing the same thing. we're deploying forces to the area and giving them much shorter response times so that if we do have to deploy them, they'll be able to get up in the air and to the area in a more rapt fashion. >> and is there going to be an ongoing structure to do that? an ongoing system that would be put in place so that it's not just this one review of what the circumstances are, but for the foreseeable future, we'll expect to have communication and coordination between d.o.d. and
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state? >> we are doing that and we are trying to to develop a tighter team that can work together to make sure that we protect our lives abroad. >> thank you. and general dempsey, i understand that in earlier testimony you acknowledged there are gaps in our intelligence and what we know and that better intelligence would have given us a heads up about what we might have needed in the region. will some of the assets that are used in afghanistan be redirected to africa for future use, do you think? >> as assets are -- become excess capacity anywhere, we have that process i mentioned to senator reid called the global force management process where we do it on an annual basis but monthly we meet to redistribute
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as necessary as threats go up and down. so yeah, absolutely. i would expect that over time, additional assets would be made available. >> and reports suggest that africom has been underresourced because of afghanistan. is there a reprioritization we should be doing as we are drawing downforces in afghanistan and looking at what we need to do and given the challenge of the potential challenge of sequestration if we can't act in congress to to address that, and i certainly hope we can, i think it's a response -- i think it's responsible for us to do that, but how do you expect that reprioritization to occur given the budget challenges we're facing? >> first, let me -- i'd like to
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suggest a little different wording to the -- you said is africom disadvantaged because of afghanistan? the answer is no. the resources we've got in afghanistan are there because that's where the threat to the great -- where the greatest threat to the homeland resides new york western pakistan and in some cases northeastern afghanistan. those are direct threats to the homeland. it's afghanistan but it happens to be where the threat is. so as the threat migrates, changes, we reprioritize. and to your point about sequestration, yes, you will see a deaf constituent -- a definite degradation if we have to absoshes the magnitude of sequestration. >> just to be clear, i suggested that other reports have indicated that there may have been underresourced so i didn't intend to make that accusation but really just to raise it as a
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question so thank you very much. >> thank you, senator shaheen. senator lee? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for being here today. thank you for your service and all you do for our country. i appreciate and respect the fact that as you acknowledged in your opening statements, it isn't possible for you to be all things to all people, it's not possible for you to be anywhere in the world within notice of only a few minutes and we need to keep that in mind as we look at the sad, unfortunate situation. we also recognize the concern that you have for u.s. personnel everywhere around and respect what you do for them. i do want to follow up a little bit on some of the questions senator graham was asked a -- was asking a few minutes ago. secretary panetta, a few minutes ago, you end kated that we didn't have boots on the ground, didn't deploy forces.
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because the attack came to an end. but as senator graham pointed out, this is an attack that lasted nearly eight hours from start to finish system of at some point there had to have been a decision made not to deploy them. at what point in that time frame was it made? or was it not made until after the attack had ended nearly eight hours after it began? >> senator, again just to bring you back to the events as they took place. there was this initial attack on the facility at benghazi. within an hour or so, that ended. and very frankly, we thought that was the end of what had occurred there. and we had no intelligence that a second attack would take place at the annex two miles away. >> we didn't know and what we didn't know was a lot of people were still unaccounted for. so the immediate attack was perhaps not visibly under way
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but you weren't certain there wouldn't be more fighting. >> you know, obviously you're not certain about what may or may not happen but the issue of whether or not you suddenly deploy a platoon or a team into an area still has -- you still have to determine whether or not the situation that's there requires the deployment of that force there. and frankly, when we were told that the attack was over, you know, we immediately, you know, although we had the forces in place, we would have responded if something had indicated more, we had no intelligence to indicate that that was the case. >> and at what point -- to what point are you referring right now? you're talking about the initial attack on the compound. was that decision revisited hours later when in the early hours of the morning benghazi time another pretty considerable
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attack came about? >> let me make sure. once the attack occurred, we started moving forces, didn't matter really whether there was another attack. we were moving forces. as they were moving we directed them where they were need. i thought they would likely be needed in tripoli. they were moving. nothing we did slowed that process down. >> did they get to tripoli? >> they did. they're there now. >> and why didn't they move forward to benghazi? >> there was no need to do it by the time they got there. >> how did you know there was no need to do it -- >> because everybody was out of benghazi. >> ok. yet it took another 23 days, as i understand it, to secure the compound after the attack had completed. had ended. so why did it take 23 days to secure the compound? >> senator, we were not requested to secure that
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compound. when the f.b.i. decided to go in and then requested us to provide security, we did. >> after the f.b.i. requested that, at that point? >> that's correct. >> but again, going back to the early morning hours, benghazi time, when there was still fighting going on, how did you know that was the end of it? or are you saying it didn't matter at that point because you had removed all the mens from the compound and from the annex? >> what i've said, senator, is that the -- when we put the forces in motion, they continued in motion until they arrived at the location. >> at what point did you put them in motion? >> immediately. but there's notification to liftoff and then there's transit time. it was a significant amount of time. >> had they been on alert or a higher state of alert could you perhaps have gotten them there fast her >> i think, yes, they could have.
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we routinely leave forces at n-plus six, some at n-plus four, some at n-plus two. no one is sitting on the tarmac waiting but we do dial up and dial down the alert. >> looking back, given that it was an important anniversary of 9/11, was there good reason to have put them at a higher state of alert than they were? >> look b back is clearer than looking forward. i will tell you as part of the study described, we have cheaged our alert posture globallyment the question is whether we can sustain it over time. it's challenging to sustain those kind of alert postures. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator lee. senator kain.
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>> mr. speaker, your testimony is where i'm going to start. an observation and some questions, a line that i find the most provocative, that brings me to my great -- my greatest concern right now as secretary and the greatest security risk we are facing as a nation, which is budget uncertainty, which could prompt the most significant military readiness crisis in more than a decade. it's a provocative statement, greatest security risk as a nation, iran, north korea, al qaeda, including al qaeda in the megrib. but i gather the thrust of the point is our ability to respond to any of those security threats is completely dependent upon a national security posture informed by budget decisions rather than budget indecision. yesterday it was announced you approved a decision to take u.s.s. harry truman and u.s.s.
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gettysburg and delay their deployment to a sent come desire that they be deloyed and delayed the deployment due to a march 1 sequester and the likelihood of that happening. i regret you had to make this decision. you were faced with the decision of moving a carrier to the area we're talking about, instead you decided to keep it home ported because of budgetary concerns. you shouldn't have had to make that decision. the safety of men and women we have deployed in afghanistan and the mideast and pakistan is at stake and the very matters we're talking about in this hearing are at steak when you have to make a decision of that kind. the ability of our military to respond to crisis in some volatile parts of the world, you can't cancer the carrier deployment because this part of the world was suddenly safer. our ability to respond is at stake and as you pointed out in
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an earlier answer, this also affects individual morale of individuals who subleased apartments. there's an article this morning in the "virginian pilot" as quoting airman carlie grice of kentwood, louisiana, said she was excited to go on the first deployment. this was a letdown. actually i'm disappointmented, she said, she joined in august and hopes to make a career in ther is vess. she wonders if that's realistic given budgetary issues. the military today is filled with 20-year-olds or newly minted lieutenants or others who will be the future leadership of our military. there's probably someone in the military right now who will be a future head of the joint chiefs of staff but i suspect that virtually all of them are wondering whether a career in the mill tear is realistic given what they've seen from this body, what they've seen in term os they have budget that might inform whether they can make
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that a realistic choice. i hope congress is taking notice of your provocative comment which i think is an accurate one. the decision regarding the truman is going to be the first of many, i suspect, unless we do something to replace sequester. we know sequester was never intened to happen, mr. speaker, as you mentioned. we should in my view finish last yore's appropriations process, enact deficit reduction to align the sequester with a budget process and do a meaningful budget process and make the decisions exactly as you described. you did a national security review inside the d.o.d. and then let that drive some budgetary decisions. we're letting our budget drive national security even worse -- national security. even worse, we're letting budget taryn action drive national security. i fear greatly for our future as a result of where we are now. first, i gather we're liking --
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likely to see a lot of thins like the truman announcement yesterday that would potentially weaken our readiness derek moralize our active duty men and women and leave us less safe unless we find an alternative to sequester. >> i -- i truly hope that that does not become the case. senator, we can do this right. i mean, the united states of america is the strongest military power on earth. we're the strongest democracy on earth. if we have to reduce the budget, as we do, $487 billion, i can get that done pursuant to a strategy that protects the strongest military on earth. there is no reason why an arbitrary legislative mechanism that was designed not because it
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was good policy but because it was bad policy to drive action should now take place. you know, i cannot -- i cannot imagine that the congress would simply stand by and let that happen because the consequences are just as you've described. if we go into sequester, then we are going to have to take steps to implement these -- another $500 billion in cuts in a way that will, make no mistake, hollow out the force and weaken the united states of america as a military power. we don't have to do that. this is a self-inflicted wound. we do not have to do this. and that's why i think the general and i are trying, we're trying to take steps to prepare for that should it happen. we're trying to do it in a way that makes the steps reversible so we can again get become to
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the business of defending this country. but if this continues, and if this happens, then you are absolutely correct, this is the beginning of a number of steps we're going to have to take that will badly damage our readiness. >> what does it mean, when sent come has decided there should be two carriers in the mideast and decides purely because of sequester, we can't do that, what does that mean to our readiness posture and what message does et send to allies and adversaries? >> you know, first off, i'm going to assure you and i think general dempsey can speak to this, we're going to do everything, we're going to do everything we can to make sure that we are prepared to deem with the threat from iran. and you know, we will have one carrier there, we will deploy other forces there so that we can hopefully fill the gap. but our hope had been that we could have two carriers which would give us the flexibility to
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have the kind of rapid response that we will need if we have to deal with a crisis there. >> in terms just of the sheer organizational effort, i assume it's thousands of hours of your personnel to try to figure out how to contort your fwouget comply with the se quester that would much better be spent looking forward and working on an f.y. 2014 budget. >> you bet. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to begin by thanking the two of you for being here this morning an for your extended service. i will say, secretary panetta, i regret you and i have not had the opportunity to work together, since i'm a new member of this committee, but i will tell you you have over many years earned a reputation for
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being fair minded, for looking for bipartisan compromise, and for looking for solutions. indeed, i will pass on a comment that was made to me by a more senior republican on this committee about you in which you were characterized as a, quote, straight shooter. which as you know, in washington, is both a rare compliment and a very high compliment. so i want to thank you for your principled dedication to this country and your long service. tippett likewise thank you, general dempsey, for defending the nation and for standing with the men and women of the military and protecting the military of the united states. it is my hope that this hearing can be a helpful moment in terms of learning productive lessons learned. from the tragic attack at
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benghazi. and what i would like to focus on principally is the window between when the attack began and 5:15 in the morning when navy seals glen dowerity and tyrone woods loster that lives. roughly 7 1/2 hours there. and i recognize that in any mill tear conflict, one inevitably faces the proverbial fog of war. but what i'd like to ask you to do is use the 2020 -- use the 0/20 hindsight we have now. if you could go back -- use the 20/20 hindsight we have now. if you could go back in time and play it other again. if at 9:42 p.m. benghazi time when the first attack began, you knew that at 5:15 a.m., two former seals would be on the roof of that annex and would
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face mortar fire, what specifically could have been done if we had that knowledge and i recognize that is a hypothetical but if we had that knowledge, what military options would there have been to prevent that loss of life and stop that attack at the annex? >> senator, as you said, it's tough to respond to a hypothetical. as long as we're talking about hypotheticals, the best that would have happened here is that we would have had a heads up and we would have had troops on the ground to protect that facility. that's the best scenario. and that's what works the best. once an attack takes place, the biggest problem you have is getting accurate information
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about exactly what is taking place in order to then develop what response you need to do it. you can't just willy nily send f-16's there and blow the hell out of a place without knowing what's taking place. you can't send ac-130's there and blow the hell out of a target without knowing what's taking place. you've got to be able to have good information about what is taking place. in order to be able to effectively respond. >> so in your judgment if i understand you correctly, the most effective means would have been to have boots on the ground. if, and again this is a hypothetical, at 9:4 p.m., you had received a direct order to have boots on the ground to defend our men and women there, what is the absolute fastest that could have been carried out? >> well, based on the posture,
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our posture at the time it would have been n plus six plus transit time with the closest ground force available so you'ring loog -- looking at something between 13 and 15 hours. >> if i understand your testimony correctly, in your military judgment, there was no way conceivably to get troops on the ground sooner than 3 to 15 hours? >> that's correct. >> how about asset like an ac-130? if you had received an order at the outset to deploy an aircraft like an ac-130, what would have been the absolute fastest it could have arrived at ben fwawsee? >> i don't even know exactly where they were but i know there were no ac-130's anywhere near north africa that night. >> i'd like to also spend a few moments on the decision making
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as this crisis unfolded. i take it neither of you received the hypothetical order at any point to get boots on the ground immediately? >> that's right. >> now both of you mentioned that at 5:00 p.m. d.c. time, you met with president obama for a regularly scheduled meeting, during which you discussed the attack at benghazi that had happened about an hour and 20 minutes earlier. you said the total meeting lasted roughly 30 minutes. how much of the meeting would you estimate covered benghazi? we teed up up that issue when we walked into the oval office, i would say the first 15 or 20 minutes was spent othat as well as cairo and what might happen
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there. >> and after that 15 or 20 minutes' discussion of benghazi, do i understand your testimony correct that neither of you had any subsequent conversations with the president the rest of that day and that evening? >> we continued to talk, i think we teed up some other issues that we were dealing with at the time to inform the president, and then once that concluded we both went back to the pentagon and immediately i ordered the deployment of these forces into place. >> in between 9:4 p.m., benghazi time, when the first attack started, and 5:15 a.m., when mr. dowerity and mr. woods lost their -- mr. dougherty and mr. woods lost their lives, what conversations did either of you have with secretary clinton? >> we did not have any conferrings with secretary
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clinton. >> and general dempsey, the same is true for you? and one final question because my time is expired, senator lee asked you about securing the compound and noted that it took some 23 days to do so and i think to the astonishment of many viewers we had cnn news crews discovering what appeared to be sensitive documents rather than u.s. forces or law enforcement. and i just want to make sure i understood your answer correctly, you said you were not requested to secure the compound and had you been requested to secure the compound, in your judgment, the u.s. military could have done so and could have done so effectively? >> yes. yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator cruz. senator hagen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary panetta, as i'm sure everybody said, this is your
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last time before this committee, we certainly want to take an opportunity to thank you for your extraordinary service as secretary and all the other accolades and services that you have provided to the people of the united states. i, too, want to echo my sincere thanks and general dempsey, thank you, too, for your continue service as we go forward. the september 11 attack drew attention to the use of local militia by the department of state for protection in benghazi and on the night of the attack, security consisted of three armed militia members as well as four locally hired, unarmed guards and five armed diplomat exsecurity agents. and i understand that the three militia personnel were members of the february 17 martyr'sberry gate a local militia that participated in the anti-gaddafi uprising.
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documents recover fled post indicated while the local militias trained with the u.s. forces for this role, militia members were generally expected to provide their own weapons and their own ammunition in order to protect. to what extent has the department of defense also relied on such arrangements in high threat areas in which central government forces did not fully control the territory such as afghanistan? and how should the committee view the use of local militias for force protection? both of you, if you can answer this question, please. >> during my time in iraq, we had third country nationals who provided contracted support, as well as some u.s. contractors for support. we had never reached the point where, in my time there, where we were using iraqis, for example. i do know that it's common practice in most countries to
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use local bodyguards and local security forces. so it's -- it is the norm, not the exception. >> typically that's with the country that has an organized government. >> i think that's a fair characterization. it's, you know, something you see in tribal societies, obviously. and we see that in afghanistan where they've developed local militias in the different, some of the different areas to provide security and you know, i think the key there is that sometimes it works very well as a way to secure that community, depending on the quality of the militia involved and sometimes it can get out of control. >> secretary panetta, you suggested that the department is looking at how to assist in host
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nation fores using a range of sources to train these forces. as chair of the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee which does have jurisdiction over d.o.d. authorities, i would be interested in thinking -- in hearing if you think d.o.d. currently has the authority to conduct these orpe operations or whether you would need to seek new authorities? >> i feel petty good about the authority we have now in the ability to go in. again, you have to have the country this host country, actually request this kind of assistance and this kind of training but if they're cooperative and if they want this kind of help, we have the capability and authorities to help provide that. >> are the nations you're looking to engage host members or are they members of the diplomat expost? >> we can work with whatever
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security forces that that particular country wants to get trained. we can help provide the training necessary. and it's kind of up to the country as to just exactly what kind of security they're going to provide around an empasscy. >> what's your comfort level if they decline to have assistance with training? >> makes me very nervous. >> then what is plan b in that case? >> i think plan b in that instance is that you do have to do everything possible hard than embassy, make sure it's, you know, it's secured, make sure that we have the marines in place to try to provide additional security, make sure that they have the additional security hired with the embassy to protect it in that event and make sure we have the ability to respond quickly if we're asked to be able to go in and do what we have to do to help those that
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are located in the embassy. >> did you feel comfortable with the training of the localmy slashe and libya? >> not at all. i think it was, you know, having been at the c.i.a., we did some work to try to assist the militias, the opposition forces that were involved against gaddafi at the time. as usual in this instance, these are groups that are pretty dispersed and represent a number of different opposing elements that, you know, it's not a well-coordinated opposition. i think that was the case with the militias. >> i guess i was concerned when i read about them providing their own ammunition and weapons. >> yes. it's not, libya, as we pointed out, these countries that are going through the transitions,
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that have taken place since their various revolutions, it, one of the areas that's hurting is the quality of their ability to provide security to the embassies that are located in their country. that's a problem we're having to confront more and more in that part of the world. >> we certainly need to keep in mind, as i'm sure you do, the safety and security of our embassy personnel, first and foremost. a variety of organizations have been named in media reports as responsible for the attack against our u.s. facilities in benghazi and more recently on the b.f. facilities in algeria. some of these are familiar names, but others are not well known. the violent extremists operates in -- operating in north africa, are there any that the department of defense has said
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is eligible for targeted under the use of military force and how is such a determination made? >> obviously al qaeda and its affiliates are at the top of the list and if it's al qaeda and al qaeda-related, obviously we do have authorities to be able to go after them. but in order to do that, you have to identify who the individuals are, what se the threat that they constitute, and the lawyers then review that and determine whether or not that's somebody who can actually be targeted. >> there are a handful of high value individuals or high interest individuals who have been dez egg nated in terms of those perpetrators of the benghazi attack we continue to try to develop the intelligence so to this point, none of them have been dez egg nated although
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we work with other agencies to try to build the intelligence case to do so. >> my time has expired, thank you. >> thank you, senator hagen. senator wicker. >> thank you very much. secretary panetta, congratulations on a very interesting and distinguished career. i'm honored to have served with you in the house of representatives and to have been your colleague and wish you the best in your future endeavors. having said that, you were very forceful today in talking about sequestration. i heard you on the media yesterday making a very forceful statement about how irresponsible it would be not to fix this before it goes into effect. let me just suggest this. colleagues at the other end of the building in the house of representatives came over with a
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bill, they put it in bill language and had it scored, passed a rule, voted on it, sent it to us, to agree -- agree wit or not, they came up with a specific answer to it and there's been no answer back from the senate side. the president made a pronouncement about it a few days ago. mr. speaker, you can't score a speech. you can't score general concepts. when you see the president telling weepy -- will you tell the president we'd be happy about how to fix the revenue problems because frankly people from my side of the aisle have been calling on the president for specific suggestions, specific proposals you can score, you can put in bill language, we haven't had that for other a year. so if you see the president please make that suggestion to him. general, let me ask you this.
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i don't see where the intelligence gap is that you mentioned in response to senator chambliss' question. he asked if this was an intelligence failure. you said no, it's an intelligence gap. and then in fleshing out the testimony, it seems that you knew everything you needed to know. the militia fired on the compound, the i.d. attack on the u.n., the attack on the red cross. the abduction of red cross workers. the red cross deciding to pull out of benghazi, same thing with the united kingdom, an r.p.g. attack on them. the u.k. got the message and pulled out and yet we didn't take the same message apparently, we didn't make the same decisions at least from the attacks on the united states and united states' interests.
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are you suggesting that there was something else that you needed to know from intelligence sources? or are you suggesting in the alternative that the only thing missing was a request from the state department? you got it in yemen and you acted on it, you didn't get that request from the state department officially on benghazi is you didn't make more arrangements for security there. would you leer that up? >> thanks for the opportunity, senator. the -- first of all, what i did know is what i was told in general hamm's weekly reports which reflected a deteriorating security system in eastern libya. >> let me interject there. did those come up through the mill tear personnel, the country teams? >> no these are directly from the combatant commander to the
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secretary of defense. >> where did the combatant commander get his information >> he's in constant touch with those deployed throughout the region, defense attache. >> the defense attache would be a member of the country team. >> sure. >> ok, proceed ahead. >> i was made aware that a cable expressing that concern had been sent. i didn't read the cable myself, i'm reflecting what i knew from general hamm. furthermore, i don't know if the cable resulted in requests from the embassy team in tripoli to the state department. all i can tell you is we didn't get a request in d.o.d. i'm not suggesting that big state got it and didn't do anything with it. i don't know what -- i think the internal deliberations in tripoli were still ongoing. what i can tell you is we didn't get any request for adegreesal security. >> did you know that the red cross had been attacked that red
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cross workers had been abducted and that the red cross subs quensly suspenses their ben fwawsee operation? did you know that? >> i did. >> you did, ok. did you know that the united kingdom had undergone an attack and that they had decided to close their mission in benghazi? >> i did. >> and did you then know about the attack on american interests? >> through the course of the summer? >> through general hamm, you knew about the attacks on the united states. >> general hamm was good about reporting the deteriorating security situation in libya. >> and you didn't feel that you as chame of the joint chiefs of staff were in a position based on that to make a decision to send in extra security for those american interests there? >> well, i'd like to answer that in two ways.
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number one, this deteriorating situation in labia wasn't unique. i know some will suggest it was the worst thing going on. it was among the worst things going on. so this in context, the threat streams in libya were equaled elsewhere with equally significant and threatening intelligence. secondly, that's not what we do. we don't impose resources into a country without the permission, the request of the host nation or the country team in a country. >> do you get military resources close by and ready to respond? or must you wait for a state department request to do that also? >> we just alert postures acourting to intelligence where we think -- according to intelligence where we think the threat is highest. >> in retrospect do you western you had justed -- >> in retrospect, sure.
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>> and what would you have done? would put them in cret snembings >> given the kind of attack that occurred, if they weren't in the immediate vicinity they would not have been able to affect the outcome. as we discussed previously, this has to be some combination of early decisions. >> sec retear panetta, lessons learned. it seems that two factors that allowed the situation -- secretary panetta, lessons learned. it seems the situations that allowed this to go were the same situations that allowed the first 9/11 to succeed. intelligence information sharing. i think enough americans knew enough to know this was really, really bad, and second, stovepipe communications between organizations that are supposed to be working together on these things toward a common goal.
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11 years after 9/11, do you believe we're in closer to breaking down these institutional bare year -- barriers and what steps has d.o.d. taken in this regard in response to the ben gaw zero incident? -- benghazi incident? >> first of all, i do believe, again, based on my experience at the c.i.a. and involved with intelligence issues there that the intelligence community is working much better in terms of sharing information, working together, developing the teams necessary to be able to gather intelligence, sharing that intelligence between the entire community. they're much better at doing that and much more effective. i think the -- the problem remainses the gaps on intelligence resources that are out there that no matter how good your sharing is concerned,
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if you don't have the information from a resource out there, there's going to be a gap and you're going to have the problems we saw happen here. we've got to be able to fill those gaps. we have got to be able to give better human intelligence into those areas that we don't have good information on. that's number one. number two, we have got to, in response to this, what we have done is to make sure that we deploy those fast teams that are out there, we've located them in key areas, we have reduced their response time. we now have airlift associated with them and the fact is, some of these fast teams did not have airlift, airlift we would have had to deliver from other areas. we now have airlift that is associated with those teams. so we have taken a number of steps to try to improve our ability to respond. >> when did you take the last step on the airlift? when did you impose -- >> we did that early on. it's been soon after what
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happened. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccaskill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was sitting here and whenever senator graham questions witnesses, it's obviously, i'm an old prosecutor and he is quite the cross-examination expert. he does a withering cross-examination of witnesses when he's trying to make a point. and i started to feel sorry for you, secretary panetta and then i thought about who you are and what you have done in this nation's capital. the service you have provided at the white house, at the pentagon, at the c.i.a., in congress, the years and years of valuable service that you have given to this country and then i realized you'd be just fine you didn't need my help with senator graham's questioning at all. i thank you for those years of service. and general dempsey, i want to clarify that you have said today
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that once the attack occurred, you were moving forces. >> yes. >> all right. now i want to ask, is anybody here from the state department in the audience? if you are, would you raise your hand? ok, got one hand from the state department. i say that because i have a history that i have been involved in doing oversight on embassy security. this history goes back to 2009 when the contracting subcommittee i chaired did a hearing on the embarrassment of a mor group and their ability to protect the embassy in kabul. after that hearing, in 2009, armor group was let go. and then there was a february, 2010, hearing of this committee on security contracts. and contingencies. it was a sensational hearing and i mean that in both senses of the word. there was information that came out of that hearing that if i
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were at the state department, i would want to absorb it and get busy. now, a report based on that hearing was issued in a classified nature weeks before september 28. but the public report came out on september 28. and in that report it said that local taliban was working with war lords to provide guards and weapons for use in the contract. it came out they were failing to adequately investigate the forwards' previous employment which resulted in hiring individuals who had been fired for sharing sensitive information, security information work taliban war lords. failure to appropriately vet guards, some of whom, according to u.s. intelligence reports, may have been involved in anti-american activities. now all of that information was out in the classified way several weeks before september 10, excuse me, september 28, an was out in public september 28.

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